Corporate biases jeopardize debates

The race for the New York City mayor’s office advances Tuesday night with the first general election debate. The incumbent, Mayor Bill de Blasio, will have to defend his position from Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican, and Bo Dietl, an independent candidate.

According to The New York Times, a recent Quinnipiac University poll concluded that 61 percent of potential voters said they would vote for de Blasio.

The debate, which will last for 90 minutes, will be broadcasted on NY1 and WNYC. The bipartisan Open Debate Coalition collected questions for Tuesday’s debate from the public, of which a specific amount will be used. However, Spectrum NY1, one of the debate’s media sponsors, will ultimately decide from the public’s suggestions what questions will be posed to the candidates, according to The New York Times.

In this manner, Spectrum NY1 can influence public opinion. The news network is owned by Charter Communications, the parent company of Time Warner Cable and the second-largest cable operator in the United States. In selecting certain questions, they can affect discussion from candidates and citizens. The government needs to be transparent and receptive to its citizens at all levels, but allowing a massive corporation to decide what questions constituents can ask their representatives hinders communication and generates bias.